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Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering

Front. Agr. Sci. Eng.
Rachid RAZOUK1(), Abdellah KAJJI1, Anas HAMDANI1,2, Jamal CHARAFI1, Lahcen HSSAINI1, Said BOUDA2
1. National Agricultural Research Institute, Meknes, BP 578, Morocco
2. Laboratory of Biotechnology and Valorization of Plant Genetic Resources, Faculty of Sciences and Techniques, University of Sultan Moulay Slimane, Beni Mellal, BP 523, Morocco
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• Regulated deficit irrigation was assessed in almond, peach and plum over 3 years.

• Fruit-growth slowdown stages are appropriate periods to apply deficit irrigation.

• Peach yields were unaffected under a regulated deficit irrigation of 75% ETC.

• Regulated deficit irrigation of 50% ETC maintained yields of almond and plum.

• Fruit quality improved under regulated deficit irrigation.

The effects of regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) on the performance of almond cv. Tuono, peach cv. JH-Hall and plum cv. Stanley were assessed on the Saiss Plain (NW, Morocco) over three consecutive growing seasons (2011–2013). Irrigation treatments consisted of a control, irrigation applied to fully satisfy crop water requirements (100% ETC), and two RDI treatments, irrigation applied to 75% ETC (RDI-75) and 50% ETC (RDI-50). These three treatments were applied during fruit-growth slowdown periods corresponding to Stages II and III in almond and Stage II in peach and plum. Yield and fruit quality traits were determined. The effect of RDI differed between species. Yield and fruit size were reduced significantly only in peach under RDI-50. Fruit quality improved in this species in the first year of the experiment, with an increase of sugar/acid ratio and polyphenol content. Plum quality also improved but the effects were significant only in the second and third years. Similar results were recorded in almond kernel, but their epidermal grooves were deeper under RDI-50, and this may have affected their commercial value. It is concluded that water can be saved during the fruit-growth slowdown period by up to 25% in peach and 50% in almond and plum with improvements in fruit quality without affecting total yield.

Keywords fruit quality      fruit yield      Prunus domestica      Prunus dulcis      Prunus persica      regulated deficit irrigation     
Corresponding Author(s): Rachid RAZOUK   
Just Accepted Date: 26 March 2020   Online First Date: 02 December 2020   
 Cite this article:   
Rachid RAZOUK,Abdellah KAJJI,Anas HAMDANI, et al. YIELD AND FRUIT QUALITY OF ALMOND, PEACH AND PLUM UNDER REGULATED DEFICIT IRRIGATION[J]. Front. Agr. Sci. Eng. , 02 December 2020. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.15302/J-FASE-2020325.
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Abdellah KAJJI
Soil depth/cm Clay/% Silt/% Sand/% Organic matter/% CaCO3/% P2O5/ppm K2O/ppm pH EC/(mS·cm−1)
0–35 43.0 10.2 46.8 2.51 3.0 73.36 458.87 7.30 0.10
35–70 37.6 16.1 46.3 1.58 3.1 15.12 222.48 8.06 0.07
Tab.1  Physical and chemical proprieties of the soil in the experimental orchard
Fig.1  Monthly rainfall and reference crop evapotranspiration calculated using the Hargreaves model in the experimental orchard over the three years of the study.
Species RDI application perioda Fruit growthb/(mm·d1) Total amount of irrigation per treatment/(m3·ha1)
Treatment 2011 2012 2013
Peach May 16–June 1 0.45 Control 4064 4192 4622
RDI-75 4004 4100 4529
RDI-50 3944 4008 4436
Plum May 25–July 1
July 16–harvest
0.18 Control 3810 3930 4340
RDI-75 3190 3335 3687
RDI-50 2570 2740 3034
Almond April 19–harvest
(September 4)
0.02 Control 3556 3668 4050
RDI-75 2798 2817 3167
RDI-50 2040 1966 2284
Tab.2  RDI period and total applied water over the three years (2011–2013) in the control and the RDI treatments
Species Treatment Yield per tree/kg Yield efficiency of TCSA/(kg·cm2) Fruit weight/g
2011 2012 2013 2011 2012 2013 2011 2012 2013
Peach Control 28.3 a 19.8 a 24.0 a 0.14 a 0.09 a 0.12 a 118 a 123 a 121 a
RDI-75 26.7 a 18.6 a 22.5 a 0.13 a 0.09 a 0.11 a 106 a 118 a 118 a
RDI-50 16.7 b 13.6 b 16.1 b 0.10 b 0.08 b 0.10 b 90 b 96 b 97 b
ANOVA * * * * * * ** ** **
Plum Control 33.9 21.9 32.0 0.22 0.14 0.21 38 40 37
RDI-75 31.7 20.6 30.0 0.23 0.15 0.22 35 39 36
RDI-50 30.1 19.5 28.5 0.22 0.14 0.20 35 36 36
ANOVA ns ns ns ns ns ns ns ns ns
Almond Control 10.6 8.0 8.1 0.06 0.04 0.06 2.7 2.8 2.7
RDI-75 10.0 7.6 7.7 0.05 0.04 0.05 2.6 2.7 2.6
RDI-50 9.8 7.4 7.5 0.05 0.03 0.04 2.6 2.5 2.5
ANOVA ns ns ns ns ns ns ns ns ns
Tab.3  Yield and fruit weight of peach, almond and plum over the three years (2011–2013) in the control and the RDI treatments
Species Treatment Fruit weight/g Fruit length/mm Fruit width/mm Pit weight/g Weight ratio pit per fruit
Peach Control 120.67 a 5.80 a 6.31 a 6.54 a 0.06
RDI-75 114.00 a 5.68 a 5.87 a 6.07 a 0.06
RDI-50 94.33 b 5.32 b 5.52 b 4.60 b 0.06
ANOVA ** ** ** ** ns
Plum Control 38.33 5.20 3.58 2.09 0.06
RDI-75 36.67 5.10 3.44 2.00 0.06
RDI-50 35.67 5.06 3.46 1.78 0.06
ANOVA ns ns ns ns ns
Tab.4  Average values for three years (2011–2013) of weight and dimensions of peach and plum fruits in the control and the RDI treatments
Treatment Nut weight/g Nut length/mm Nut width/mm Kernel weight/g Weight ratio Kernel/Nut Epidermal grooves in kernels
Number per kernel Reliefa
Control 2.73 2.86 1.54 1.12 0.42 10.5 2.2 b
RDI-75 2.63 2.82 1.52 1.04 0.39 11.0 2.2 b
RDI-50 2.53 2.93 1.56 1.01 0.39 11.1 3.0 a
ANOVA ns ns ns ns ns ns **
Tab.5  Average values for the three years (2011–2013) of weight and dimensions of almond fruits in the control and the RDI treatments
Species Treatment Moisture/% SSC/(mg·g1 dw) AAC/(mg·g1 dw) Polyphenol/(mg per 100 g dw) Ratio (SSC/AAC)
Peach Control 82.5 390.7 c 29.2 a 513.4 c 13.38 c
RDI-75 81.2 428.5 c 24.7 b 614.0 b 17.35 b
RDI-50 80.1 444.4 a 20.9 c 905.4 a 21.26 a
ANOVA ns ** * * *
Plum Control 74.9 418.9 c 35.2 a 1477.1 c 11.90 c
RDI-75 74.9 445.8 b 31.2 b 1869.5 b 14.29 b
RDI-50 74.9 459.9 a 30.0 b 3099.0 a 15.33 a
ANOVA ns * * ** *
Almond Control 3.9 2.0 b 143.2 a 6.9 c 0.01 b
RDI-75 3.9 2.2 ab 134.2 b 22.4 b 0.02 a
RDI-50 3.9 2.3 a 134.8 b 54.4 a 0.02 a
ANOVA ns * * ** *
Tab.6  Moisture, soluble sugar (SSC), amino acid (AAC) and polyphenol content in peach and plum pulp and almond kernels in the control and the RDI treatments in 2013
Species Treatment Degrees Brix/°Bx Titratable acidity (meq per 100 g fw) pH
2011 2012 2013 2011 2012 2013 2011 2012 2013
Peach Control 12.2 b 13.6 b 14.4 c 22.0 a 21.9 a 22.0 a 6.9 b 6.9 b 7.0 b
RDI-75 13.5 a 15.1 a 15.6 b 20.0 b 19.9 b 19.5 b 7.1 a 7.1 a 7.2 a
RDI-50 13.6 a 15.2 a 17.6 a 16.4 c 16.3 c 14.7 c 7.2 a 7.2 a 7.3 a
ANOVA ** ** ** ** ** ** * * *
Plum Control 25.3 19.9 c 22.2 c 5.3 5.2 4.9 a 7.1 7.0 7.1
RDI-75 24.6 21.5 b 24.0 b 4.8 4.7 4.5 a 6.6 6.8 6.7
RDI-50 22.7 24.2 a 26.9 a 4.6 4.5 4.0 b 6.6 6.8 6.6
ANOVA ns ** ** ns ns * ns ns ns
Tab.7  Sugar content (degrees Brix), titratable acidity and pH of peach and plum pulp in the control and the RDI treatments
Treatment Oil content (% dw)
Control 56.7 b
RDI-75 56.9 b
RDI-50 59.0 a
Tab.8  Oil contents in almond kernels, in the control and the RDI treatments in 2013
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